What's happening in universities re. SP training?

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Susan Godsland
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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by Susan Godsland » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:58 pm

The following magazine article was written by a teacher-trainer in Wales.
It completely mis-represents synthetic phonics teaching.

The limits of phonics teaching.
http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/31117406

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by chew8 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:23 pm

Lyle obviously knows that phonics teaches some ‘letter combinations as one sound’ – she gives ‘th’ as ‘the most common combination’. It’s odd that she apparently doesn’t see that ‘ay’, ’er’, ‘ir’, 'ow' etc. are also covered as units by phonics teachers.

She thinks that the fact that ‘th’ can be pronounced as voiced or unvoiced is a big problem. It isn’t – children find it very easy to do this particular ‘tweak’. She also mentions the voicing/non-voicing issue in connection with the ‘s’ in ‘as’, ‘is’, ‘was’/’bus’, ‘pus’, ‘yes’. Again, this is a minimal problem in practice, as also in ‘cats’/’dogs’, ‘sits’/’runs’ etc.

This kind of ill-informed overstatement of problems is not helpful.

Jenny C.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by maizie » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:43 pm

chew8 wrote:This kind of ill-informed overstatement of problems is not helpful.
I don't think it's meant to be helpful, Jenny ;-)

But it really does convince people that 'phonics' can't be taught.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by chew8 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:05 pm

I suppose I would hope that a teacher-trainer would genuinely want to help teachers and would at least try to ensure that her facts were reasonably accurate.

Jenny C.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by geraldinecarter » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:57 am

She thinks that the fact that ‘th’ can be pronounced as voiced or unvoiced is a big problem. It isn’t – children find it very easy to do this particular ‘tweak’. She also mentions the voicing/non-voicing issue in connection with the ‘s’ in ‘as’, ‘is’, ‘was’/’bus’, ‘pus’, ‘yes’. Again, this is a minimal problem in practice, as also in ‘cats’/’dogs’, ‘sits’/’runs’ etc.
I agree, Jenny. These just weren't a problem - 'th' pronounced as /f/ needed some attention but otherwise no problem.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by Derrie Clark » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:37 am

I have emailed her. I think this is the usual confusion between traditional/analytic phonics with its rules and learning the written alphabet rather than the synthetic phonic approach and its focus on the link between phoneme and grapheme. So many adults just do not understand how the alphabet code works. I recommended Diane McGuinness' 'Why Children can't Read' and suggested that even if she didn't agree with what was written that it would provide a solid grounding for her own knowledge base.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by Susan Godsland » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:24 pm

Prate and Lyle.

http://literacyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014 ... -lyle.html
The article ‘The limits of phonics teaching’ betrays a lack of knowledge about the way in which the writing system is linked to the sounds of the language that is, even by the poorly informed standards of whole language proponents, quite staggeringly awful. The fact that it also comes from someone who is a Welsh teacher trainer from Swansea Metropolitan University and that it is going to go out in TeachingTimes simply compounds the awfulness of this caricature of what phonics teaching is.

Once the nonsensical and snide allusion to ‘commercial’ schemes has been dispensed with, Sue Lyle starts of well enough, informing the reader that a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound and that there are forty-four sounds in English. But that’s about it!

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by chew8 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:26 pm

Digraphs such as ‘ay’, 'er', 'ir', ‘ow’ etc. have been covered even by people whose teaching approaches predate Diane’s books - eg. Joyce Morris, Sue Lloyd, Mona McNee and Ruth Miskin (to say nothing of the people who taught me in the 1940s). Lyle should know that.

The voicing/non-voicing of ‘th’ and ‘s’ is a letters-to-sounds issue – i.e. it occurs when one is reading and is having to translate printed letter-strings into spoken words. The place of articulation is the same for both voiced and unvoiced versions, however, and the differences really do not cause problems in reading.

Voiced and unvoiced /th/ don’t cause problems in spelling, either, as the only spelling for both is ‘th’. The /s/ or /z/ spelling is a bit more problematic, but even in the early stages children can grasp the idea of using ‘s’ for plurals and the 3rd person singular of present-tense verbs even if the sound is /z/, as in ‘dogs’ and ‘runs’.

Jenny C.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:24 pm

The CLPE people (see earlier post) have just tweeted
Teaching #phonics next term? Take a look at our fab FREE phonics booklist here:

https://www.clpe.org.uk/page/52/download/129
Yes, gorgeous books for sharing, but they could only be used for 'contextualised phonics', not synthetic phonics, surely?

I wonder if they recommend any decodable readers for independent phonics practice?

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by Elizabeth » Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:24 am

I was training in a school in Grantham yesterday and spoke to a post-graduate student teacher on placement there. Unfortunately, I forgot to note the university she attended.

She said that they had some phonics training about Letters and Sounds and the Phases of Letters and Sounds at the university. From what she had been told, she had no idea L &S was one of a number of programmes. She thought it was compulsory and that all commercial phonics programmes in England had to teach Letters and Sounds! She had been told she must get a hard copy of Letters and Sounds, but she could not find one, so she printed the whole "Notes and Guidance" and "Six Phase Teaching Programme".

Of course she couldn't get a hard-copy! Letters and Sounds was archived in 2011. What on earth is going on in Universities that are still teaching Letters and Sounds, instead of generic systematic synthetic phonics?

She said that my training was an eye-opener.
Elizabeth

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by chew8 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:08 pm

Teacher-trainers in universities should certainly know better.

The situation in schools is probably very variable. I don't have much of an over-view, but I am aware both of schools which have obviously taken the new National Curriculum requirements on board and of schools which still seem to be doing things in the NLS type of way.

Jenny C.

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Re: What's happening in universities re. SP training?

Post by chew8 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:52 pm

Just to add to the above: I've heard of a school which has obviously noted the 'exception words' which, according to the new Programme of Study, children are supposed to be able to spell by the end of Year 1. Some children (possibly just the top group) were tested on all of them just before half-term.

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